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Livin' It Up with Sammy

Update from My Mom

September 19th 2011 8:10 pm
[ Leave A Comment | 28 people already have ]

Hello friends. Since Sammy is not feeling well again, and I mentioned to a few people that I was taking him back to the vet yesterday, I thought I’d do an update here.

A week ago today I came home and found little puddles of blood tinged urine in various locations around the house. I found Sammy squatting and straining to pee in various places outside the litterbox, so I knew something was wrong. I took him to urgent care that evening since I could not get an appointment. The vet who saw Sammy was concerned that he had a fever and signs of infection, so that is what he was treated for.

After receiving fluids, pain medicine, and 5 days of antibiotics he appeared to be doing a lot better. Although he was using the litterbox, and did not appear to be in any distress, I was concerned that he was not urinating normally. He was going more often and only producing small amounts. In the back of my mind I knew that there had to be an underlying cause for his bacterial infection, but I was really hoping that the antibiotics would “cure” him.

Saturday he seemed a bit off to me, but since he had been running away and hiding from me when it was time for his medicine, I thought he was just stressed out about that. Sunday morning I noticed blood tinged urine in one of the cat beds again, so I knew Sammy was not “cured.” I was able to get an appointment in the late afternoon so I took him back in. The vet who we had the appointment with (not our regular vet) was called away to an emergency for a critically ill snake, so he and the ER/ICU vet, a young woman, ended up switching patients.

It was kind of funny because the ER vet told us when she walked in that she “didn’t really like snakes” and was happy to see a feline patient – LOL. She reviewed Sammy’s history then took us to a room with ultrasound so she could aspirate urine directly from his bladder. She came back a little while later and gave me the bad news I was already expecting – struvite crystals – ugh. I already knew a little bit about it from what I have read in the pet health forums and heard from friends with cats who have FLUTD (feline lower urinary tract disease).

He received more fluids, a pain shot, an injection of an anti-inflammatory drug, Cerenia, and some pills to take at home. A funny thing happened as we were leaving, after I paid the bill and was walking back to the car with Sammy in his carrier. The vet tech ran after us saying “Wait, I gave you the wrong medication.” I didn’t look at it closely, but I handed it back to her. She came back outside with the same medicine a few minutes later and handed it back to me. She said she had checked with the vet because the box was labeled “for canine use only.” The vet had explained to me that she was prescribing a medication that is labeled for canine nausea and vomiting, but has been used off label for cats and has shown some benefits for pain and bladder inflammation. I went home and looked it up just to make sure. Since I work in healthcare, I know that medical errors happen every day and I wanted to make sure it was a safe drug to give to Sammy.

I ended up buying some prescription wet food at the vet’s insistence which I know is very controversial and I have some reservations about it. I asked her if I could feed my own store bought wet foods and eliminate all dry food since I have 4 cats and didn’t really want to go the prescription food route. She believes that Sammy needs the prescription food to dissolve and get rid of the crystals so I will follow her advice for now, but I hope to transition back to regular wet food at some point. I’m not thrilled with the ingredients of the prescription food, but so far Sammy has been eating it, so I’m hoping that once his crystals have dissolved I can transition him to something healthier. My ultra picky cats who snub their noses at Wellness, EVO, and some of the better quality brands seem to like the prescription food so far. It’s supposed to increase thirst so they drink more water, but hopefully we won’t have to use it for very long.

Sorry for the long post, but I think writing all of this out makes me feel better. I don’t like seeing any of my cats sick, but what makes this especially distressing for me is that Sammy is so young, barely 2 years old. He is a very sensitive little guy and I do think that stress played a role in him getting sick in addition to his diet. I love all of my cats dearly, but Luke unfortunately can be a bully sometimes. Most of the time he is a real sweetheart, but he has a very dominant personality, loves to be the center of attention, and has a tendency to pick on the other cats. I ordered a calming collar for Luke this weekend, so paws crossed that it mellows him out and he doesn’t pick on Sammy. I might get one for Sammy too to reduce his stress.

I know a lot of people on Catster have dealt with FLUTD and problems with struvite crystals in their cats, so it’s been really helpful to read about how others have dealt with this problem. Thank you so much for all the purrs for Sammy, it's helped me get through a very rough week.

Love, Sammy and Mom Kelly


Leave A Comment | 28 people already have

Purred by: Gumpy Sweet Boy (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 8:22 pm

Lots of purrs for you, little Sammy! We're concerned about you. You know, Dr. Barchas of the Catster/Dogster Vet Blog just wrote an article about how stress is considered a major part of FLUTD. We will be purring for you and hope those crystals dissolve and won't come back to visit. Sounds like a very distressing experience for your mom and dad!
Purred by: Timo Katze - DB #105 (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 8:36 pm

Dear Sammy,
I am so sorry that you have been sick. I had those nasty crystals twice and I was, both times, blocked. That was four years ago and I'm fine now. My vet had purrscribed the dry perscription food, which my Mom gave me. But the dry food really dries me out and I had constipation too. The second time Mom asked for the wet perscription food and that was better. I ate perscription food for a long time. I think almost a year. Then Mom learned on Catster that the ingredients are not so good.

I think you should eat your perscription food for a while because it really does disolve the crystals. Then later try to eat all wet food and no kibble. Even the cheaper wet food is better than dry because there is just no water at all in the kibble and you can't drink enough to make up for it. It took Mom two tries to get me completely off my beloved kibble and she had it stored in her car for awhile. Because if I smell it in the house I'll keep begging for it. Now I eat a little dry again, not every day and very, very little.

Sending you many healing purrs. Hope you feel better.
Purred by: Sammy (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 8:37 pm

Thank you Gumpy! It's been a bad week for me, Mom just wants me well again. The vet also mentioned to Mom that stress is a major factor in FLUTD and that Prozac may be part of the long term management ~ Mom hopes I won't have to be on that.
Purred by: Sammy (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 8:43 pm

Hi Timo! I'm sorry to hear you had the same problem, it's no fun is it? I'm glad the prescription food worked for you, Mom is going to keep feeding it to me until these nasty crystals are gone.
Purred by: Lisa P

September 19th 2011 at 8:55 pm

Oh no Sammy!!! Oh you poor guy. I'm so glad you have such a vigilante mommy. Do what the doc says for now with the food. Then when you're better, your mommy can give you the good stuff again. No, it's not ideal and we don't like the ingredients but we have to do what's best for you and it's only short term. We don't know much at all about crystals so thank goodness there are so many knowledgeable kitties and parents here. Hopefully we never have to go through that!

Purrs for you Sammy. Luke! Leave him alone!
Purred by: Julius (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 8:55 pm

Sending you & Sammy lots of purrs. Purr purr purring for those nasty crystals to dissolve quickly.
If you're open to holistic approaches, I hear that Bach's Rescue Remedy is supposed to help calm pets in stressful times. Also, we read that Prozyme, a powdered supplement/enzyme can be helpful as it helps to break down food and aids in digestion and is said to be useful for cats with urinary problems.
Also, mom likes this website for natural approaches. They have a library filled with some good info: FLUTD
Hugs & purrs to you both,
Purred by: Julius (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 8:59 pm

Sending you & Sammy lots of purrs. Purr purr purring for those nasty crystals to dissolve quickly.
If you're open to holistic approaches, I hear that Bach's Rescue Remedy is supposed to help calm pets in stressful times. Also, we read that Prozyme, a powdered supplement/enzyme can be helpful as it helps to break down food and aids in digestion and is said to be useful for cats with urinary problems.
Also, mom likes Only Natural Pet Store's website. I tried to post the link but Catster's not letting me?? Well anyway, they have a library that's filled with good info.
Hugs & purrs to you both,
Purred by: Pipo (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 9:13 pm

Oh, dear...we sure hope that now that you know what the trouble is, Sammy will be feeling a lot better furry soon.

Hugs to you all, and purring the POTP, too!
Pipo & Minko
Purred by: River (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 9:37 pm

Sammy, buddy, I'm so sorry to read this. I knows what you going through. I also had a run with crystals. Lucky for me my daddy saw it and told mommy how funny I was acting. He said he really wanted me to go to the vets the next morning (not that mommy wouldn't have anyways) That night I had an accident on daddy's laptop bag. Then they KNEW I was in troubles, I never do that. My mommy also was hesitant about the nom noms the vet gave us, but it worked. It cleared it right up, and since beating the disease was the most important thing at the moment, she can't argue with the results. Poor mommy, she even skipped a Christmas party to stay home with me because it was my first full night on the drugs and trying to recover, she said she wasn't going to go out and have fun only to come home and discover I had gotten much worse very suddenly. I'm pretty loved, and so are you. Now that they know what's wrong they are gonna fix you up real goods! Your mommy is on the ball making sure you only get the best of the best and I know you are gonna make a full recovery!
Purred by: Max (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 9:41 pm

We are purring up a storm for you to get better. I hope they like the cat food. Please keep us updated.

Purrs Max
Purred by: ♥ Jezebel RIP ♥ (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 10:44 pm

Sending out purrs for Sammy!
Purred by: Blade (Catster Member)

September 19th 2011 at 11:57 pm

We are purring for you, we wish you didn't have to go through this... Mom has no experience with crystals other then the pets that come in her clinic and the dr's recommend that crystals diet. We've heard that it really does work. You can also look around there must be a kind of food out there with the same idea and better ingredients. If you find what makes this food better and look for that in another food, maybe that is a way to go? Check out the food forums and you can also ask at a natural pet food store and ask their opinion. We hope those nasty crystals go away soon!

I definitely think wet food would be a better way to go... Since dry food you are taking away a lot of the water they would be getting. Cats get more water in their food then getting it from drinking. But you'll have to look more into it as I have never needed to do so for myself.

We've heard that the raw diet can help, but I wouldn't go in that direction unless you are totally willing and open to it.
Purred by: Zachery Tristan (Catster Member)

September 20th 2011 at 8:08 am

I had a kidney infection two Christmases ago. Doc told Mom their probably was some crystal action going on too. The doc also gave me pills to take for the infection. He told Mom this was her wake up call and to fight it early. Mom always makes sure our dry food is PH Balanced Urinary Tract healthy and that we eat at least a can of wet food a day.

Mom had a cat when she was around 15 that was so badly blocked up by the crystals that he had to have major surgery. And we don't want that for any of us! You pee like a girl afterwards!

You are in our thoughts and purrs. I think Zoe is really worried about you. She calls you jail bait, Sammy. That's a compliment. Take care of yourself and take those Meds!
Purred by: ♥ Tasha ♥ (Catster Member)

September 20th 2011 at 8:33 am

So sorry those crystals were bothering you! We agree with what others have said~ use the prescription food to get you back on track and no more dry is the way to go. We will continue to purr for you!

xoxoxo Tasha
Purred by: Laura W

September 20th 2011 at 9:06 am


whoa buddy, sorree ta lurn about de stoooooooooooooopid as burds crystal chick tryin ta rent space with ewe....that bites; we noe...cuzin boomer went thru that sew bad lee him had ta haz parts ree moved :(

we hope de foodz ya be eatin cn clear crystal outta ya....if yur mom gets a minit, tell her ta ship a note to gleek's mom...gleek wented thru that mess back this summer; him be doin grate now two...hiz number be: 612935 if ewe iz knot all reddy pals...

stay pawsitive buddy, eat sum trout....sure it mite knot cure de urinaree issue, but it'll make ya feel better....

peace out N rock on pal ! purrin for ya in trout towne N askin R pal st francis ta due sew two !
Purred by: KiKi (Catster Member)

September 20th 2011 at 2:34 pm

We're so sorry to hear about your FLUTD, I have it too, and I liked the prescription wet food for awhile, but no longer like it. I'm a stressed kitty too, so we know that doesn't help with the FLUTD. We're hoping and purring for you to be rid of those awful crystals! We will continue to purr fur you.
KiKi & Family
Purred by: Eva V

September 20th 2011 at 5:21 pm

Sammy sweet guy, I am sorry you are a stressed out kitty. I think you are extra sensitive emotionally (like I was!)
Your mom may also want to consider feliway comfort zone diffusers before going the Prozac route.My bro Teddy Bearz is a nervous kitty and mom can always tell when she needs to change the plug in bottle just by his behavior. She also thinks it helped with all the stress Katerina brought into the home.
Good prices on eBay.
Vet food may not be ideal in a perfect world but in the real one it really does work!
I hope the calming collar will help Luke.
Sending you special healing purrs from Wally and a whole bunch of angel pals.
Love always
Purred by: Napoleon * In Loving Memory * (Catster Member)

September 20th 2011 at 8:57 pm

Oh, Sammy, Sammy! You have a good mom. Do as you're told; eat what they tell you or you'll get like I got: Confused! Here's my story: I was on the good stuff--raw food diet but then I got crystals. Then I ate some dried stuff and i was better. i went back to the raw chicken and my crystals came back. I went to dried and i was alrigh again, except I was constipated. I went back to raw and I got crystals. Why does the good stuff keep giving me crystals? I don't know! The vet told mum that I should eat regular wet can food. So I have been for the last 6 yers and I don't have crystals anymore. BUT when I got my oral surgery in the springtime, THAT vet wanted me on Prescription dry T/D but mum gives me mostly wet with a little bit of the Prescription dental dry food. I hope I stay fine!

Sammy, I expect you better very soon! Take your medicine and follow your mom's decision on what food to eat.

Your friend,
Purred by: Pumpkin (Catster Member)

September 20th 2011 at 9:16 pm

We are all purring for you! I was diagnosed with crystals in my urine this summer. The vet gave me the prescription dry food too, but he also prescribed half a Tums each day. I take it in a Greenies Pill Pocket, which I love. I haven't been back for my check-up yet, but from the standpoint of my comfort and well-being on a day-to-day basis, it does seems to be helping. You might ask your vet about this too.
Many purrs,
Pumpkin (and Louise Brooks, Chirpy, Gigunda, Locket, Buttercup, Tanuki, Giancarlo, and Moka)
Purred by: ♥Simon♥ (Catster Member)

September 20th 2011 at 10:29 pm

We're purring very hard for you Sammy and hoping those crystals go away so you can feel better. Hope the calming collar works for you too and lets you have some peace and quiet.

Hugs and purrs,
Simon & Reuben(an angel)
Purred by: Sammy (Catster Member)

September 21st 2011 at 6:00 am

Thanks so much everyfur, Mom and I very much appreciate the comments and words of advice. It's really amazing how many of us have been through this awful experience. Nap, that is very interesting that you developed crystals eating a raw diet. We have always eaten a combination of wet and dry food in our house, that is why Mom was very surprised that I developed FLUTD, she thought we were getting enough moisture in our diet. We have a couple of pet fountains, too, but I'm not a big water drinker.

You are correct about me, Alfie, I am an extra emotionally sensitive kitty, even more so as I have gotten older. We will try the calming collar, the diffusers, and the natural remedies first to reduce my stress. Prozac will be the last resort, although Mom has a friend whose kitty is on Prozac and it's done her a world of good. Mom thinks Luke needs Prozac, too ~ MOL.

Thank you again for your purrs and support:)

Love, Sammy
Purred by: Eva V

September 21st 2011 at 6:08 am

Glad to hear from you,Sammy.
I really didn't mean to imply that Prozac is not a good thing.
I also have a friend who is on it and doing well.
You may also be right about Luke!
It's funny, you know. You are a lot like I was. For dudes like us there must be peace and harmony or else our health suffers~it is as simple and complicated as that.

Love and purrs
Purred by: Lisa P

September 21st 2011 at 6:13 am

Pumpkin, I've never heard of Tums ever being prescribed to a kitty! I don't like the idea of that. There are a ton of artificial sweeteners in Tums that can actually cause more problems. Has your mom ever tried anything like Slippery Elm Bark or something more natural?

Hi Sammy! Sorry to hijack! I hope you feel better soon.
Purred by: Sammy (Catster Member)

September 21st 2011 at 6:23 am

That's okay, Alfie, Mom is not in favor of giving me medication either, she would much prefer that we find a natural remedy.

Hi Alex! I don't mind if you hijack, everyone who comments and makes suggestions is helping us out big-time to figure out how we are going to manage this. We appreciate any and all advice.

Love, Sammy
Purred by: Greyson (Catster Member)

September 21st 2011 at 12:10 pm

Meow Sammy,
I'm purring real hard for your crystals to go away! Please tell your mommy to have a long serious talk with the v-e-t before you start taking Prozac. I was on it for three years because I have Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS). It causes seizure-like episodes - brought on by lots of things, but mostly by stress. The Prozac worked wonders for me, but I gained a lot of weight (I'm 20.2 lbs now) and I lost my personality. All I did was eat and sleep. I stopped playing with my toys and really didn't have much interest in anything. Now because of another issue, I've been weaned off of the Prozac and I'm playing like a kitten again! Prozac can be a wonderful thing if it's just for a limited time and a very small dose, but please, please be very careful to have your mom watch your personality. You don't want to lose your quality of life - especially at such a young age. I wish you the best, my furriend!
Purred by: MILO BLUE EYES DB#73 (Catster Member)

September 21st 2011 at 5:52 pm

OH Sammy, my dear furiend, I am so sowwy U been feelin' bad, but ur grand mom know's what to do to make U feel better! I purrin' dat any 'n all med's werk's 'n U feels better soon! Ur in our purrayer's 'n we lubbs u furry mush!

Many head nudges, 'n lotza purrs,
Purred by: Shade (Catster Member)

September 23rd 2011 at 3:30 am

We hope that your are feeling better Sammy!!
Purred by: Pigeon - misses you! :( (Catster Member)

September 24th 2011 at 10:23 am

So sorry to hear this Sammy! :( Hope you're feeling better soon! ♥ Love ya Buddy

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